President John Agyekum Kufuor on Thursday, inaugurated a multi-million Ghana cedis appeal court complex building in Kumasi with a call on Ghanaians to respect the rule of law and submit to the due process of law.
President Kufuor said the establishment of the appeal court in Kumasi was to bring the appeal process closer to citizens in the northern sector of the country and also minimize the delays in handling cases and reduce the cost incurred by travelling all the way to Accra for the appeal process.
He reminded judges and other officials of the courts to be mindful of the heavy responsibility that they carried and urged the court officials to work assiduously and conduct themselves well to earn respect from the public, as befits the judicial service.
President Kufuor said the government appreciated that to be able to deliver effective and efficient justice to Ghanaians, the judicial service must provide an enabling environment by ensuring that the structures from which justice was discharged were not only befitting, but were also functional for their purpose.
He said that the commissioning of the building was a determination of the judicial service to advance the cause of justice in the country.
He commended the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, and the staff of the Judicial Service for their hard work and said the completion of the building ahead of schedule was due to the dynamism of the Chief Justice and her team.
Mr. Osei Kwame Prempeh, Deputy Minister of Justice and Attorney General, said the Kufuor government would be remembered for not only promoting rule of law but also enhancing the judicial system by providing physical infrastructure, ICT facilities and others which were enhancing efficient justice delivery system in the country.
He called on all stakeholders in the administration of justice to help protect and sustain efficient judicial system and rule of law.
Mrs Justice Georgina Wood, the Chief Justice, said over the last couple of years, the Judicial Service had embarked on infrastructural development to reflect its commitment to the rule of law and democratic governance in the country.
She explained that, the establishment of the Court of Appeal for the northern sector bore eloquent testimony to remove all barriers to geographical access to justice in the country.
Mrs. Georgina Wood said the completion of the project was the beginning of plans to establish a Court of Appeal in each regional capital within the next few years.
She appealed to all people working to advance the administration of justice to eschew acts that could delay the dispensation of justice.
The Chief Justice called on senior lawyers and judges to demonstrate high sense of professionalism and inculcate in young aspiring judges and lawyers sound legal and judicial values and principles that engender public trust and confidence in the judiciary.
Mr Emmanuel Asamoah Owusu-Ansah, Ashanti Regional Minister, said the government had kept faith with the people of Ghana by delivering on its promise of promoting rule of law and justice in the country.
He, however, expressed concern about the state of magistrate and circuit courts in the Kumasi Metropolis and appealed to the Chief Justice to ensure the construction of a modern magistrate court complex.
Daasebre Osei Bonsu, Asante Mamponghene, who represented Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, advocated the mainstreaming of the role of traditional rulers and their customary arbitration system into the judicial system of Ghana in order to speed up justice delivery.
He expressed the appreciation of the people in the northern sector to the government on its role to build an orderly just society in Ghana.
The appeal court complex, which took less than two years to be completed, will house two courts of appeal, a human rights' court, an industrial (labour) court, two land courts and two commercial courts.